Palestinian institution-building efforts continue despite challenges, UN seminar told

24 March 2010
Maxwell Gaylard, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory

Despite challenging political and economic circumstances, Palestinian efforts towards reform, institution-building and development have continued with the aim of eventually establishing a Palestinian State, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Despite challenging political and economic circumstances, Palestinian efforts towards reform, institution-building and development have continued with the aim of eventually establishing a Palestinian State, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

“It is vital that the Palestinian Authority (PA) continue to advance this State-building agenda while striving to meet its other Roadmap obligations in full, including an end to incitement against Israel,” Mr. Ban said in a message delivered on his behalf at the opening in Vienna of a United Nations seminar on assistance to the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian reform efforts have contributed to a 6.8 per cent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the Secretary-General said in the message, delivered by Maxwell Gaylard, deputy UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt.

Mr. Ban urged key contributors to Palestinian state-building to channel their assistance through the PA’s single treasury account, and to support priorities articulated by the authority for 2010.

“I welcome recent transfers that are vital to supporting the 2010 budget, and strongly encourage those donors who have not yet done so to frontload financial support,” he added.

The Secretary-General, however, expressed concern over the situation in Gaza, saying that during his visit to the oPt and Israel earlier this week, he had seen that no widespread civilian recovery was under way more than a year since the end of the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel.

“Reconstruction of destroyed and damaged buildings and infrastructure remains nearly impossible due to the continuing Israeli closure and resulting lack of materials,” Ban said.

He said was aware that the Israeli Government had approved a number of civilian recovery projects and agreed to expand the list of imports into Gaza to include aluminium for window frames.

“The needs in Gaza are enormous and this package of recovery projects, while positive, represents only a first step. More broadly, the closure is unacceptable, unsustainable and counter-productive,” the Secretary-General stressed.

The two-day seminar in Vienna is being held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Zahir Tanin, head of the delegation of the Committee, said its position was that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory must end without preconditions to allow the Palestinian people to establish an independent State on all territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem.

“It [the committee] is convinced that only serious and sustained international engagement will bring about peaceful and negotiated settlement of all outstanding issues and reverse the growing support for radical forces that promote violent and unilateral approaches to ending the conflict,” Mr. Tanin said.

 

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